Best Maine Filmmaker: Jeffrey Charles Day
Leave aside the fact that he’s a nice guy, a smart actor, and a motorcycle lover. Jeff Day is a hell of a filmmaker. Examine his gritty, experimental, and just plain weird aesthetic all over his web series Vacationlanders: The Unorganized Territories of Maine, c. 2015-16. Or check out the wistfully hilarious and wryly ironic short film Flippy Day, a low-budget mockumentary that explores the culture of roller skating rink. Hardworking, down-to-earth, and at the center of a tight-knit Portland film community (he’s a frequent collaborator with local companies Blue Stocking Films, Zebulon Films, and more), Jeffrey Charles Day is a star.
Best Movie Theater: Nickelodeon
Whether you’re up for a first-run show at a bargain price ($5 Tuesdays!), an arty flick from overseas, or a local premiere or short-film showcase, the Nick is where you want to go. It’s the way movies were meant to be shown and seen: In a sidewalk space that’s easy to get to, with cheap tickets, people you know in the next row, and yummy snacks (cookies!) without a corporate facade. With the mix of work coming out of the Nick’s projection rooms, Hollywood fans and cinephiles alike find happiness here.
1 Temple St, Portland | 207.772.4022 | patriotcinemas.com
Best Museum: Portland Museum of Art
With four floors of classic, contemporary, Maine, and from-away art, the Portland Museum of Art is a literal and figurative pillar of the arts community in Maine. Its Circa series showcasing local artists is not to be missed, and its main gallery exhibitions are impressive for both quality and quantity. Director Mark Bessire and his staff have built a museum that we almost want to send on its own traveling show, just so we can tell people: “Yeah, Portland has this.”
7 Congress Sq, Portland | 207.775.6148 | portlandmuseum.org
Best Non-Gallery Art Space: Local Muscle Art Truck
We’ve all heard by now that Local Muscle is the best moving company in town. We know their ethics about treating their employees well, and we’ve seen their knack for doing oddball art things like hosting film festivals and devoting one truck in their fleet to art shows, moveable installations, and theater performances. As real estate prices increase and the forces of gentrification slowly splinter the arts and shutter rehearsal and performance spaces, it’s hard not to view Local Muscle’s truck as a glimmer of hope for those of us who still wanna keep things weird. Keep it up.
273 Presumpscot St, Portland | 207.370.9090 | localmusclemovers.com
Best Open Mic: Dogfish Bar & Grille
With its casual sports bar vibe, impressive line of cheap taps, and food menu far better than you might expect, Dogfish is a perfect setting for casual, light music. Their acoustic open mic is one of the longest running in town, and is easily the best and most accessible in the post-Acoustic Coffee/North Star era. Stop through, sip a brew, and hear one or two of the songs your neighbor’s been working on awhile.
128 Free St, Portland | 207.772.5483 | thedogfishbarandgrille.com
Mainers flock to the State Theatre, this year's Best Rock Venue winner. Photo by Joshua Frances.
Best Rock Venue: State Theatre
The story of the State Theatre over the last few years is the story of the phoenix (but not the Phoenix). After lying dormant for more than a decade, they rose from their own ashes and became the loftiest concert venue in town once again. Hard to believe that not long ago, we were a city that would get passed over by the likes of Beck, Morrissey, Fiona Apple, Tegan and Sara, and M.I.A. Now Portland’s one of the most interesting stops on their tours — a real rock event — and we have the State Theatre to thank for it.
609 Congress St, Portland | 207.956.6000 | statetheatreportland.com